DOTHAN -- Six weeks after one of the largest litters of African Boerboel puppies were born in Auburn, the puppies’ breeder in Dothan says most of the puppies are doing well.
Seventeen puppies squirmed – and others squeezed – their way in for a feeding last Wednesday with their mother Bailee, a South African Boerboel dog, who recently gave birth to a litter of 19 puppies.
Jerry Turner, who breeds the African Boerboel dogs through his business called Hidden Creek Boerboels near Taylor, said he believes the litter is one of the largest of its kind born in the U.S.
“They are very unique dogs,” Turner said. “They are very loving, very affectionate and highly intelligent dogs.”
The dogs were born at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. Guinness World Records reports the largest litter of puppies was born in 2004 in the United Kingdom when a Neopolitan mastiff gave birth to 24 puppies.
There are 17 puppies remaining in the Auburn litter after one died at birth and another died a short time later.
Bailee, the 4-year-old mother, weighs around 145 pounds, Turner said. He referred to the father of the puppies, called Afrika Marcos “Mayhem,” as the male stud. The father was imported directly from South Africa.
The word Boerboel means “farmer’s dog,” and that they were often used as guard dogs to protect farms in South Africa, Turner said.
Turner started breeding and raising Boerboel dogs in 2008 or 2009. He said they’ve sold and shipped the Boerboel dogs as far away as Puerto Rico and to California and North Carolina and Massachusetts.
“The dogs are appraised by the South African Boerboel Breeder’s Society and the North American Boerboel Breeders’s Association,” Turner said. “We strive to put together high-scoring, good Boerboels. We have people from time to time on a waiting list. We have people waiting on three of Bailee’s puppies already.”
Groups of five or six puppies nurse with their mother around three times a day. Turner said they also feed them a dry dog food, powder milk and water mixture called gruel around three times a day. He said the puppies live in what’s called a whelping box right now, which is where they nurse and eat their gruel.
“They were placed with a puppy nanny until they were 3 weeks old,” Turner said.
They typically don’t start letting the puppies go to their new home until they’re close to 8 weeks old.
“We like to place them in good Boerboel homes,” Turner said.
Reporter Matt Elofson can be reached at email@example.com.